Kwanzaa celebrations begin in Philadelphia on Saturday

Starting a weeks-worth of celebratory days, representatives from the African American History Museum lead Kwanzaa activities in Franklin Square on Saturday.

The group aimed to educate Philadelphians of all ages on the meaning of the holiday with activities and music.

Kwanzaa was started in 1966 by a professor of Africana studies as a celebration of family, culture and community. The seven principles of Kwanzaa are each honored for a day through the lighting of the Kinara. They are unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

Kamora Shambley lite the first of seven candles during a celebration of the first day of Kwanzaa at the Martin Luther King Recreation Center Wednesday December 26, 2018 in St. Paul, MN.] Jerry Holt • By Jerry Holt/S

"[Kwanzaa] is right in between this kind of end-of-the-year, getting started for the new year, and you really need to refresh and you really need to refocus and think about the things that are important to you so you can go into next year with those intentions in place," Lesline Hamilton said.

In gathering, Donna Doorman says that Kwanzaa gives time to slow down and reflect during a particularly tough year for so many. 

"Life in general, we are here, and so many people aren't so we celebrate that," Doorman said. "We have had to be stronger, I think, than we've ever had to be through a pandemic and the loss of jobs and people. It was a painful year."

The Associated Press contributed to this report


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